Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Category: Melissa’s life (page 2 of 20)

Little Rock Marathon…er… 10K… 2014 Recap

My first “big race” was the Little Rock Half marathon in 2009. Out of a sense of tradition, I have run this race every year since. One year, I ran the 10k because the half was sold out by the time I signed up. This year, I signed up for the 10k due to the fact that I hadn’t run more than 3 miles since June of 2013. My performance at the One Hour Track Run indicated this would be a good idea. Theoretically, I could have finished the half. In fact, I finished the 2010 half with little training and a back spasm during the race. I was dead fucking last and I was incredibly sore for over a week. I didn’t want to put myself through that again. I signed up for Grand Prix this year. I have five more races to run.

The Little Rock Marathon is known for having a great route with some challenging hills, great support, and the biggest medal in racing. This year the theme was EPIC!

About a week before the race, the weather gurus on the television started murmuring about a “winter storm” and “sleet” that may come through on race day. This sounded almost magical since the temperature was sunny and in the sixties but this is Arkansas and I know better. All the runners sat glued to the TV and social media wondering “should I go?” “What should I wear?” “Is it going to sleet during the race? NO?”

This seemed to be the prevailing wisdom. Based on my calculations, I was running the 10k. The 10k starts at 8 a.m. I should be done before anything bad. It will be cold. It was cold last year. I can do this. I have gloves, ear warmers, and a trash bag. I am going.

It started raining as I was walking to my car from my apartment. It was cold. It continued to rain as I walked from my parking space to the starting spot. It may have stopped for a little while. I went to the “perks pavillon” and warmed up by one of the heaters. I saw a running friend who was doing the marathon. I saw many of my friends as I walked to my corral. Then it started raining again.

In an effort to control the crowd the race itself started in waves. I didn’t officially start until some 8:40. Standing outside for 45 minutes in that weather was one of the more miserable experiences in my life. I was questioning my sanity. Then I quit questioning my sanity and came to the realization that “yes Melissa, you are indeed crazy.” Then it was time to actually run.

My medal and my time. BOOM!

My medal and my time. BOOM!

As far as the race itself, I felt good. I had low expectations for my pace and “ran” it via the Galloway method with 1:05 splits. I didn’t feel tired and didn’t seem to be overexerting myself. I warmed up enough after I ran that I almost took off the trash bag. Then the wind started to blow and I was glad I kept it on. Due to the weather, there weren’t nearly as many volunteers and spectators cheering us on but we the runners were cheering each other on. My quads did cry uncle when I attempted to run up the Broadway bridge on the return trip to Little Rock (around mile 5) and so I walked it. Then when it came time to go back down, I started the running again. I slowed down to pick up my lip gloss and I finished. I felt good. I smiled a lot near the end. I was glad to finish and it felt surprisingly uneventful.

I got a printout of my “tentative finish time” and went to get my massage. I always get the “perks” and one of those perks is a massage. The other perk is that I have access to these outdoor heaters. Seriously, if you sign up for the Little Rock Marathon, pay for the perks. The perks are better finisher food, heaters, portapotties, and massages. You want this folks.

It wasn’t until I got home and had time to think that I realized that my pace for this race was a good 2 minutes per mile faster than the One hour track run and 30 seconds faster than anything I had “run” in months. Considering that I hadn’t run more than 3 miles in a long ass time, I think this is one of my better races.

But seriously, that is the limit of the bad weather I am willing to take to win a medal. That was horrible: wet AND cold.

In fact, the weather was so bad that about an hour after I finished, the race directors rerouted the race and cut it short. People were picked up on busses and taken to the finish line. A storm was coming complete with lightning. We ended up having sleet and schools were closed the next day. It was indeed an EPIC experience. Thanks Little Rock marathon for an experience I will never forget.

Valentine’s Day

I was fortunate (or not) to have some ridiculously bad Lifetime movie of the week relationships early in my youth. So while I endured an high level of pain and heartbreak, I also learned early on that a bad relationship is far much worse than no relationship at all.

So I bought myself my own Valentine’s Day gift.

That’s right folks. It’s a purse shaped like a chicken. I love the mess out of this thing. It is a constant source of laughter. I love it to pieces.

I got it at the Esse Purse Museum gift shop.

Race review: One Hour Track Run

Yes it is that time of year. The Arkansas Chapter of the Road Runners Clubs of America has launched its Arkansas Grand Prix Race Series with the One Hour Track Run at Danville High School in Danville, Arkansas. The Grand Prix Race Series is a good-natured competition and motivational program that gives runners a year’s worth of races to run and a point system to encourage performance and good sportsmanship. Participants must be a member of a Road Runners Clubs of America Running Club and sign up for Grand Prix as a member of said club. Participants are separated into age groups and gender and points are rewarded for various achievements including finishing the race, winning the race, fastest times per age group, etc. If you live in Arkansas and want more information, check the link right here. It can get rather confusing and the website explains it better than I can.

The one hour track run is a unique race in that it is literally what its name suggests: participants run for an hour around a track and the distance is measured as opposed to time. In order to control crowds, there are two separate races with participants running faster than an 8:30 mile running at a different time than the slower folks.

I did this race last year with a sore calf and managed to squeak out 3. I managed to “fall off the wagon” on my running the second half of last year. My runs were sporadic and none of them were more than two miles. I use the runkeeper app that tracks my runs on my cell phone. I have documentation, folks. As a result, my only goal at the start of the race was to finish faster than I did the previous year. I figured that sore-free legs would ensure a faster time.

I had car trouble and the President of Hot Legs, the running club that has the MOST FUN! in Arkansas and running club of yours truly, picked me up to take me to the “meeting place” where six of us got into a big ole SUV to ride to Danville. It was a complete gabfest on the way.

This year was significantly warmer than last year. Also, this warm weather was an extreme change of pace from the polar vortex chill that we had earlier in the month. In fact, the temperature was significantly warmer than what we were experiencing earlier in the week. Each season has its own challenges when it comes to running and there is always an adjustment period when the seasons change. These wonky temperature changes really mess with me.

The race itself was fine but challenging. I set up my app for one minute intervals alternating running with walking. I managed to complete the entire race with this system. I started out fast and felling great. I ended up running the first mile a good minute and thirty seconds faster than my usual pace. Of course, this caught up with me for the rest of the race with my mouth feeling very dry and my head had a slight dizzy feeling which is consistent with slight dehydration. (oops) I took a walking break for two laps and then got back to the “slow and low that is the tempo” business. The last twenty minutes, I was tired. I finished. According to my app, I completed 3.4 miles.

My official Results
98 Melissa Sawyer 12 973 3.1669 18:56.8

After the race, the Hot Legs had cookies and cupcakes because BIRTHDAY! We posed for pictures. I forgot to actually take any. (oops) Then we piled into the SUV and stopped by Feltner’s Whattaburger for burgers. No, this is not part of the chain. This is a local legend that has been around forEVER! According to urban legend (or what I’ve heard but am too lazy to actually look up), the Whataburger chain attempted to sue the Russellville Arkansas burger joint but realized that the local place was there first. The result was both parties agreed to leave things be. AH America. The last time I ate at Whattaburger was when I was in college on a road trip to the Buffalo River so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the burgers and fries were just a good as I remember them.

Overall, I had a blast. The race itself was a wake up call in terms of my fitness level but it is nothing that I can’t fix. I look forward to the rest of the year.

2013 in review

I can’t lie. This year was hard for me personally and professionally.

The perfect metaphor for my year could be the story of my cellphones

First, I proved to the world that I could not be trusted to talk on the phone and pump my gas at the same time. I ended up leaving my phone on the trunk and drove off. The phone didn’t fall off the car until I was on the road and managed to get run over by many cars in the process. It turned out that I was eligible for an upgrade anyway so I got a replacement phone.

PHONE TWO: I got mugged within two weeks of having the replacement phone. I got insurance to send a replacement for that phone.

PHONE THREE: The phone store didn’t have an otter box for it at the time. My cat decided that he needed to be snugged RIGHT NOW and jumped on my shoulder as I was talking on the phone. I dropped the phone. It managed to shatter in a way that I couldn’t even turn it off. Somehow the second number on my account (and the phone my mother uses since she never actually talks that much or uses “smart phone” technology”) was eligible for an upgrade.

PHONE FOUR: That is the phone I have now. I got the biggest most bodacious Otter Box on this thing altogether.

So yeah I got knocked around a lot but ultimately nothing permanent.

I managed to go to a dinner party that turned into an urban legend– complete with its own entry in

I completed the Little Rock half marathon again.

I managed to start up the Arkansas Governor’s School Alumni association. I got people to be on the board. I got Doug Shipman to come speak to the current AGS class.

But yeah I am ready for a new year. Come on 2014. I am waiting to see what’s in store.

A Christmas Eve Miracle

2013 has not been a good year for me and the experience had left me quite morose and misanthropic. This Christmas snuck up on me like a viper. I ended up buying all my gifts on December 23rd. I still haven’t sent out Christmas cards and my apartment was a complete mess when I finally cleaned up enough not to create a biohazard in my absence on the 24th. I left the house around 3 p.m. and this was after a phone call from my mother around noon asking where I was.

It is a tradition at my Grandma’s house to eat ham sandwiches. The ham is homemade cooked ham and not deli meat. It is usually served with white bread and pimento and cheese. I am not a fan of pimento and cheese but it is always there. We also open presents on the 24th. This is a leftover tradition from the days when Santa still loved us: we would open our gifts from the family on Christmas eve in order to make room under the tree for Santa to do this jolly good thing.

Now with all this tradition, my leaving at three meant that I was not meant to arrive at my Grandma’s house until 6 or so. I called the cell and told my Dad I was leaving. He was grumpy but he told me not to speed because the police were out.

About an hour into my trip, I heard this thud and them this “whomp whomp whomp” with my car slowing down at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, I had heard this sound before and knew what it meant: a blow out.I wasn’t near an exit with a service station and I wasn’t quite near an actual town. By this point, my parents were over 100 miles away from my car.

I managed to pull over on the shoulder and it is sunset so there is still light but it is fading fast. I call my parents to let them know that I will be even later due to the car that misogyny bought. My Dad gets on the phone and reminds me why we have the terse relationship that we do and I hung up the phone in tears. I knew my Dad was calling the State Police for them to do something. I contemplated not even going to my grandmother’s house.

I have an autoclub membership but it is pretty slow and I was dreading how slow it was going to be on Christmas Eve when I heard a tap on my passenger side window. There was a 30something woman on the other side,”Are you alright? Do you have someone helping you?” I tell her my story and by this point, a man had stepped up beside her. He asked if I had a spare and yes, yes I did. Unfortunately, the car that misogyny bought did not have the jack. Oh the I told you so’s on this one. Fortunately the man had a jack in his car and he managed to unload what must have been Santa’s stash to get to it. There was a bunch of stuff on the ground. That is all I am going to say. And before I could say, “well now that I have a jack….” He was carrying that tire to the front of the car and unscrewing those leg nuts. [Do you unscrew lug nuts?]

I talked with the lady. She was a middle school teacher. She taught sixth grade and they were going to be having a quiet dinner with a Christmas celebration later.

And then it was done. My car was fixed by these strangers who just saw a car on the side of the road near Christmas time. They didn’t know me. They did, however, know the State Trooper who finally pulled over about the time the tire was completely changed. It turned out he and I shared the exact same birth date. I thanked them profusely and was on my way.

After having time to inspect the tire itself, I am surprised that I didn’t lose control of the car. I am also surprised that no one hit me. There were a lot of people making a mad last minute dash for Christmas. I am also surprised that I wasn’t on the side of the road for 10 minutes before someone pulled over. I know from past experience that the autoclub would have least taken an hour even on a good day. For the first time in an awfully long time, I smiled and believed in people. It was a Christmas miracle indeed.


“Anne, I don’t want to live. . . . Now listen, life is lovely, but I Can’t Live It. I can’t even explain. I know how silly it sounds . . . but if you knew how it Felt. To be alive, yes, alive, but not be able to live it. Ay that’s the rub. I am like a stone that lives . . . locked outside of all that’s real. . . . Anne, do you know of such things, can you hear???? I wish, or think I wish, that I were dying of something for then I could be brave, but to be not dying, and yet . . . and yet to [be] behind a wall, watching everyone fit in where I can’t, to talk behind a gray foggy wall, to live but to not reach or to reach wrong . . . to do it all wrong . . . believe me, (can you?) . . . what’s wrong. I want to belong. I’m like a jew who ends up in the wrong country. I’m not a part. I’m not a member. I’m frozen.”

? Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters

Roy Lichtenstein - Hopeless, Pop Woman Crying - Online Art Gallery -...

As hard as I try, I can’t seem to shake the malaise. It is stuck to me like tar, burning my skin. I scream and no one hears. I know I won’t be the same after this. It seems so all encompassing. I am forgotten. Somewhere there is a me who knows how to handle everything– Who feels young and smart. Maybe she’s a figment of my imagination. Maybe I am too broken to be repaired. I don’t want to burden anyone with my incessant whining over insignificant things. People want fun and positivity and I am not that person anymore. I may not have been that person ever.

Social Media Pow Wow

My friend Stephanie is a connector. She is the person who knows everybody. She also wants all her friends to become better people by learning from each other. She has turned her house into a salon by having these casual parties where we learn something. I went to a book club discussion of Lean In. Last week, I went to learn about social media.

The talk was titled “How to market your business, self, cause in the digital age.” Emily Reeves works at Stone Ward, an advertising agency in Little Rock, gave a presentation. She helps companies implement social media for a living. I took notes like I was in school. I learned that the shelf life of a tweet is 3 minutes. I learned about websites and messaging. It was an honor to have someone take time out of their day and provide their expertise for free. I was also inspired to start posting here more often and get other projects off the ground.

I was also inspired by the other women who attended. It was a community of dreamers and doers. I met a woman who is helping Arkansans get more energy efficient homes. I met a woman who is going to change the law involving heir property. I met a woman who is part of a start up making 3-D printers. It was a place full of intelligence and passion. The people wanted to learn but they also wanted to support each other in their endeavors. I was honored to be a part of it.

oh Emily was wearing a fabulous outfit.

50 things about me

Yeah yeah. well I noticed that Foodie Esq. did this. I also haven’t blogged in a while. Obviously I love lists.

  1. I am named after a soap opera character but my Mom doesn’t remember much about the actual character now.
  2. I don’t look my age. (or so other people tell me. They always guess younger)
  3. I started getting gray hair in my late twenties
  4. I used to be an investigator — like Veronica Mars
  5. Veronica Mars is one of my favorite TV shows of all time.
  6. Yes I sent some kickstarter money to get the Veronica Mars movie made
  7. I am tall for a woman
  8. I used to be thin but now I am obese
  9. My grandparents have a family farm/deer camp with no electricity, no running water, and an outhouse
  10. I am from Arkansas
  11. I live in Arkansas now
  12. I spent a little over 5 years in the DC with a summer in NYC.
  13. I still miss the East Coast
  14. I miss the diversity of big cities, especially one chock full of embassies
  15. I was a legal observer (think poll watcher for protests) at the 2000 IMF/World Bank protest in DC. It was huge
  16. I play piano
  17. As a kid, I wanted to grow up and become a concert pianist.
  18. I was inspired by a cartoon of Bugs Bunny playing Listz’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2.
  19. I made it pretty far. I got to college with a music scholarship but ultimately didn’t desire to be music faculty at a college
  20. I have a box of piano trophies in my closet.
  21. I have seen every episode of Six Feet Under
  22. I have also seen every episode of Dawson’s Creek
  23. My two favorite books of all time are Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  24. Strangely enough, they are both studies about how a person’s views and personality alters his perception of the world.
  25. I think cell phone typing has totally fucked by ability to write grammatically correct sentences. I have to edit like a Mother fucker now.
  26. I curse like a sailor
  27. I like the idea of cooking but I don’t cook that much.
  28. i am a twitter fool
  29. I am a crime magnet
  30. I’ve been mugged
  31. I have had my car stolen
  32. I have had another car broken into
  33. Someone burglarized my apartment
  34. My apartment was broken into on the date of my first law school exam as a 1L.
  35. Seriously that was fucked up.
  36. I was so wired about exams that I was more upset that the burglars had ransacked my notes and outlines in the process of going through my stuff than the actual taking of my stuff.
  37. They did take my alarm clock
  38. I almost missed my second law school exam as a 1L because I set the clock wrong.
  39. I woke up 40 minutes before the exam was to start.
  40. How I managed to wake up, put on clothes, get my papers together, get a cab, and make that cab take me from Adams Morgan to the law school in that short period of time, I WILL NEVER KNOW!!!!!
  41. I like to run.
  42. I have completed the Little Rock half marathon four times
  43. I, unfortunately, due to a cranky calf a little bit of laziness, have fallen off the running wagon and am hopping back on.. like now.
  44. I think Capital Hotel pens are the best pens in America.
  45. I think boiled okra is the grossest food ever.
  46. If dinosaurs had boogers, they would look like boiled okra.
  47. When I was a kid, I would “tromp cotton” with my cousins.
  48. I am fascinated by the Allen House
  49. I have raging insomnia.
  50. I am extremely critical of myself

My big fat BBQ weekend

The House of Gee

The House of Gee

Several months ago, Kelly Gee and his lovely wife Erica started a Kickstarter campaign to procure a super duper mega BBQ smoker. The real name of the super duper mega BBQ smoker is the “Boca Roto” smoker. It is a BBQ machine. It has platforms that rotate above the flame. It is large enough to smoke a human body. Not that I advocate that sort of thing but it is feasible. I am pretty sure that is illegal so don’t point to this blog as permission. Leave human bodies alone.


So as a “Thank you” for all kickstarter donators who donated $25.00 or over, the Gees threw a celebratory BBQ at their house and provided a jar of the Super awesome Gee spice rub for your own BBQ needs. So this weekend. I took a trip to the House of Gee. Look it even has a plaque on the door. Is that charming or what?

Kelly didn’t hold back. He rubbed and smoked all the meats. There were ribs. There was chicken. There was pulled pork. It all had been rubbed down and smoked until it was JUST RIGHT. There was also a choice of 3 sauces: Tipsy Sauce (A bourbon sauce), Mustard Sauce, and the East Arkansas Red (a vinegar based hot sauce). This was tasty food. The ribs were tender and flavorful. The rub on the ribs was enough flavor that a sauce wasn’t necessary. The chicken was smoky. The bourbon sauce was sweet with a kick. The pork was also tender and made a dang fine sandwich.

Of course, there were sides. There was blue cheese slaw. There was potato salad. There were bacon wrapped jalapenos. There was deserts: cupcakes, brownies, diet coke cake (?)

As you can tell it was a feast.

Kelly Gee knows how to smoke a rib.  Potato salad is at the bottom and to the right is the bourbon sauce

Kelly Gee knows how to smoke a rib. Potato salad is at the bottom and to the right is the bourbon sauce

And there were friends. All the foodie friends I have met at different foodie functions were there. Kevin of the Mighty Rib and Red Lobster Biscuit coma fame was there. So was Dan the writer over at Eat Arkansas. Greg of Rock City Times. Thanh of Red Kitchen Recipes. Joel from Southern Ash and his wife Amanda. It was a good time.

Wordless Wednesday: Chair


My Dad made me two adirondack chairs for my new patio.

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